|Date||Saturday 23 November 2013|
|Match||Barton Rovers v Royston Town
|Competition||Calor League: Central Division One
Nobody came out of this match with any real credit. Barton did what they obviously thought was needed – they harangued, feigned, screamed and bullied, scored one decent goal and came out of this ugly ninety minutes with three valuable points to keep them top of the table. Royston were extremely poor to say the least – somnambulistic at best, lacking in energy and any real positive ideas.
It was a dismal first half, punctuated by an apparently out of his depth referee, who received no adequate support from his assistants, that saw Royston go two down – first on 22 minutes from poor goalkeeping indecision from stand in stopper Zach Binge who was punished by a surprised but grateful Jermaine Hall.
Then on 32 minutes from a seemingly unnecessary lunging tackle by Joe De La Salle that brought a penalty that was converted well by Bobby Dance. The referee then let himself down by only brandishing a yellow card as the home team keeper Kyle Forster sprinted from his goal area to take out striker Rob Mason and deliberately handle the ball as well.
More diabolical officiating followed when Craig Hammond had a shot on goal that saw a Barton defender clearly handball it to block in the box , then go down holding his head , only for the guessing assistant referee to indicate it hit his chest – why then was the defender holding his head? Possibly to deflect attention from the blatant use of his hand?
Royston’s cause was not helped by young debutant full back, Jhai Dhillon – on loan from Stevenage – who seemed keen to make an impact but his multi mis-timed enthusiasm first brought a stern warning, then a first yellow in quick succession. Dhillon was unlucky to see a second yellow in a separate incident when the man in black adjudged him to have committed a foul, when he barely touched the Barton number 8 who rolled around in quasi-agony to achieve his ambition of seeing the youngster get his marching orders. Not good number 8, not good.
The second half saw Duncan Easley try to address the lack of width, momentum and penetration by replacing Craig Hammond and Antonio Murray with Luke Robins and Mitchell Bryant and for a lively first five minutes it did look like this change may have some effect. But no – this ray of hope petered out and the match went back to a frustrating series of attacking break-downs and lack of any real quality first or final ball. The last Crows substitution brought Adie Cambridge on for Ryan Ingrey who was having a quiet game by his own high standards –but this change only saw Royston defending deeper – and the painful to watch affair spluttered on.
Whilst Royston had the best of the first thirty minutes of the second half – but with no real luck in front of goal – Barton got their game clinching third goal on 75 minutes with their first real attack and helpful loose Royston defending down the home side left wing saw an unread deep cross headed in low by Joe Reynolds and a jubilant Barton team sealed the points with a rare decent footballing move that tore through the now half-hearted Royston defending and led to Luke Knight planting the ball in the net for a deserved, but bad tasting 4-0 win.
Team: Binge, Parr, Dhillon, Bradshaw, DeLaSalle, Spencer, Collins (c), Ingrey (Cambridge), Hammond (Robins), Mason, Murray (Bryant).
Subs not used – Edwards, Lockett